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Niger troops kill 57 Boko Haram fighters: security sources

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image Ten soldiers were slightly injured in the exchanges which broke out late Sunday after a large group of Islamist fighters arrived on motorbikes and cars, a member of the security forces said (AFP Photo/ISSOUF SANOGO)

Niamey (AFP) - Niger troops have killed 57 Boko Haram jihadists during fighting in the southeast Niger, a security source told AFP Monday.

Ten soldiers were slightly injured in the exchanges which broke out late Sunday after a large group of Islamist fighters arrived on motorbikes and cars, a member of the security forces said.

The Boko Haram fighters were "clearly well-trained and certainly well informed about our positions," the source said.

The fighting took place in Gueskerou, a village in the West African country's southeastern region of Diffa bordering Nigeria, from where a bloody uprising by Boko Haram fighters has spilled over.

Government forces are working to identify the body of one of those killed who is believed to be a Boko Haram leader, according to the source.

The military pushed the fighters back towards Nigeria and seized firearms, munition and three vehicles, including one equipped with a mounted weapon stolen from the military in the town of Bosso last June, the source added.

Boko Haram's insurgency began in northeast Nigeria and has spread to Chad, Cameroon and Niger, claiming more than 20,000 lives and displaced 2.6 million people.

Niger declared a state of emergency in Diffa, home to more than 300,000 refugees and internally displaced people.

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